I have been working recently with America Helping Heroes, a non-profit organization aimed at successfully reintegrating our service members back into the civilian ranks. AHH’s founder and brainchild is author and musician Angela Alegna. Angela is out to change the mindset of America, so that we welcome our brave men and women gladly back into the civilian world, upon their return from combat. She calls it prevention. She believes if we start addressing this problem now, we can begin to separate people’s distain of the war from the warriors that have served our country. I think Angela is on to something here, but she is not without her challenges. With all the political agendas in play these days, it may be hard for some people to separate the war and the warrior.
In my conversations with Angela, she and her staff have shared countless stories of the abrasive and rude comments they have sometimes encountered in their awareness campaigns. When asking for support of time or mentorship, many times the responses will be, “I’m not going to support anyone associated with this war!” or “they volunteered, so let them figure it out on their own!” The warrior in me wants to help in this regard, but I have been struggling for a way to effectively deal with this type of attitude, until today. I realized had to stop doing like a warrior and think like a life coach. I also need to thank the guys at Ranger Up for the inspiration!
So in the future, when you encounter this type of mindset, I would offer this simple question to your rude and abrasive acquaintance: Ask them, “If you don’t mind me asking…What do you do?” Here’s why!
Life coaching is ALL about questions, particularly empowering questions. By asking someone that is emotionally charged a question about themselves, you disarm them. Talking about yourself is familiar and comforting and allows the brain to engage in its more strategic and peaceful regions, as opposed to the tactical regions that seek confrontation or survival. For the overly emotional opposition, expect a suspicious response. Either way, just be calm and just ask them again, “what do you do?”
This is a leap of faith, I know. Many times the person will walk away or hang up the phone if this is a phone call. However, for the responses that you do get, 9 times out of 10, you’ll get a Job Title. When asked “what do you do,” the average person will reply with, “I’m Vice President of Sales” or “I’m Director of Customer Service.” Respond with this, “I’m sorry I wasn’t clear, I was curious what you do?” Put another way, “if I was to ask you to finish the statement “I do ‘blank’, what would you say to fill in the blank?”
More than likely, this will put the rude respondent in a situation where they need an example. You can quickly respond with this:
“Here’s an example, if I were a U.S. service member, I would answer like this:
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
If you’ve made it through the entire oath, you’ve earned the right to ask: “It’s very clear what our brave men and women in uniform do, now what do you do? I ask because I bet you’re good at your job, right? I don’t have to like the company you work for to have an appreciation for how well you do your job, do I? I’m not asking you to support the war, I’m asking if you support people that do their job. Could you help us support people doing their job?
I’m just asking for support,
not to obey,
not to any regulation…
or even for you to believe in God.
Can I just get your support?"
You’ll probably lose a lot of fish in this net, but I know the ones you catch will be worth all the time and effort you put out. Which leads me to my last question, “What do you do to support our warriors?"